Australian news, and some related international items

Renewable Energy Target – a small cost for a big gain

 this time, the renewable industry has grown and is planning to fight back with a marginal seats campaign and a public appeal to save the current Renewable Energy Target.

renewable-energy-pictureIs $15 a year really too much to pay for renewable energy? The Conversation, AUTHOR Dylan McConnell Research Fellow, Melbourne Energy Institute at University of Melbourne,11 Feb 14 Australia’s Renewable Energy Target looks likely to be weakened or even axed, with the Prime Minister saying the scheme needs to be reviewed because it is causing “pretty significant price pressure”.

But does $15 a year sound like a “pretty significant” cost to you?

According to the last national review of the Renewable Energy Target, $15 a year from now to 2031 is all that an average Australian household would save if we scrapped our national scheme to drive extra investment in renewable power.

That review – by the independent Climate Change Authority, witheconomic modelling by global consultants Sinclair Knight Merz – was completed just over a year ago, in December 2012.

Yet that very recent finding hasn’t stopped the federal government setting up a new Renewable Energy Target review, with Mr Abbott saying last week that the review would “consider the impact of the renewable energy target on power prices”.

Already there have been front page reports of rifts within the government about the scheme’s future.Some, including Nationals Senator Ron Boswell, want to scrap the renewables target entirely, while others, including Environment Minister Greg Hunt, say they are “committed to keeping the RET because of the pre-election commitment and it’s been an effective way of reducing emissions”.

So just what is the Renewable Energy Target? And what does it really cost an average Australian household – not just now, but in the future – according to the reviews and reports done on it before?

What are we aiming for?

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) is designed to encourage additional investment in renewable energy generation. It does this by requiring wholesale electricity consumers (mainly big power retailers) to purchase a certain percentage of renewable energy, which increases each year. This incurs a cost to retailers – companies like AGL and Origin – which is passed on to consumers through electricity bills……

the constant reviews and threat of further tinkering with the target is paralysing solar and wind energy projects worth up to $18 billion and putting thousands of jobs at risk. As of late last year, the solar PV industry alone employed about 13,600 people……..

With a bigger renewables industry, more jobs at stake and greater public awareness, maybe this time will be different. this time, the renewable industry has grown and is planning to fight back with a marginal seats campaign and a public appeal to save the current Renewable Energy Target.

February 11, 2014 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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